Paw-erful Lessons from My Dog….Listen Up!

I always say that adopting a dog is just like a trial run for having your own baby…except a little more rewarding, I imagine. But apart from the love and affection you inevitably get from your furry buddy, you actually  get a lot more out of the experience. If you’re open to it…the experience can change you and make you grow in the ways you didn’t see coming. It certainly did that for me. The more I think about it, the more amazed I am at how this little kid has taught me things that many people fail to understand or acknowledge. You see, a dog is not inhibited by most things us humans are. They call it as they see it. Don’t believe me? Well… see for yourself. Here are a few things my little guy taught me.

Respect the person who’s spending time with you:

Fudge – that’s the name of my dog by the way- has this amazing (read incredulous) habit of smacking away your phone or book or laptop away when he’s with you. It’s a very clear command that if he’s made an effort to come and play with you, you’d better get off your damned phone or novel or whatever it is you’re doing and focus on him. He’s quite insistent on that one, and rightly so. I mean think about it in human terms now. If someone takes out the time to come and see you, the least owe them is your undivided attention. That’s something neither Fudge nor I compromise on.

Communicate clearly:

There’s an obvious language barrier when it comes to dogs and humans. However, every time my dog is hungry, or bored or wants to  go out to do his business, he finds a very distinct way to communicate it. You would know exactly what he wants. This brings me back to my point about dogs not having the same inhibitions humans do. We get tied up into thinking what others would say, or if we’d seem too needy or greedy and more often than not, we end up settling. Is it really so bad to at least communicate what it is that you need? Isn’t it better to talk and let the cards fall where they will?

Setting Boundaries:

Fudge is big on this. So much so that I often call him my teenage brat. If he wants to play with you, he’ll come to you of his own accord. Of course, he’ll also entertain you coming out of the blue and squishing his face (which I do quite often- much to his annoyance), however, there are some things he will not tolerate. You forcing clothes on him, bothering him unnecessarily when he’s very sleepy, his food and toys. If you do, you’ll hear a very convincing warning growl. There are actually two things I learnt here. First, if I’m uncomfortable with something, I need to communicate that point across clearly and others need to learn not to trespass on those boundaries without consequence. I mean I dare you to go and try to have your way with him after he’s given you the warning. He’s the love of my life which is why he let’s me get away with a lot, but it is also why even I respect his boundaries.

Secondly, we often do things under the impression that “we know” what’s best for others. But the fact of the matter is, we need to trust the other person to make their own decisions. For instance, Fudge would fight tooth and nail if you try and put clothes on him that he finds restrictive. And you need to understand that if someone is that uncomfortable, you need to back off and check your information.

P.s. Don’t worry. I don’t leave my dog out in the cold. He comes and snuggles to sleep with the family member of his choosing every night.

Sometimes the comfort of your silence is more valuable than your preaching:

Whenever my dog comes to wake me up in the morning and I don’t feel like getting out of bed, I cover my head with my blanket and my dog immediately understands it as a sign that I don’t want to be bothered yet. He would then simply stop insisting and curl up against me and go to sleep – in a way saying, “ I get it… but I’m right here whenever you’re ready.” And sometimes…that’s EVERYTHING!

This one might bruise some egos. But jumping to the conclusion that a lecture or preaching is necessary every time someone shares some upsetting news with you is all kinds of arrogant. I’m not saying you have nothing of value to share. I’m saying maybe the person is just looking for a compassionate ear and not a counsellor. Sometimes people need to vent and that’s about it. If you must provide an insight, do it after a couple of days when you follow up… or atleast a couple hours after they start feeling light. You don’t ALWAYS have to show someone the other side. Have a little faith.

Make the people you love feel special:

Every time I come back home, whether it is after two days or two hours, my dog welcomes me with the same excitement as when he did the first time. How do you have a bad day when someone is so happy to see you?! When someone expresses just how special you are in their lives. If we were half as considerate to each other, can you imagine how amazing our lives could be?

So that’s about it folks. Life isn’t a race to prove who’s the smartest. If we all take just a little bit of time to listen and actually HEAR each other, things just might get a little easier. If my dog can teach me so much, imagine what you guys can teach each other!

Oh… and go adopt a dog. It will change your life.

The Millennia Cult

2 thoughts on “Paw-erful Lessons from My Dog….Listen Up!”

  1. Loved reading this, extremely insightful. I think we learn best from our dogs, they teach us something that hasn’t been taught to us in our whole life. Thankyou for penning it down and sharing it to all of us, feel lucky to be learning so much from Fudge

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